Josh Norris

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Norris: Senior Bowl Review

Saturday, January 25, 2014


The purpose of Senior Bowl week is to supplement completed area-scout evaluations in practice and interviews. No evaluations are based on a single week’s performance, but certain prospects did help (or potentially hurt) their status and will force evaluators to take a second look at their live game action. I will breakdown each position below and rank participating performers accordingly. Please note, this is not strictly based on how these prospects did this week, instead it is based on their complete evaluation up to this point.


For comparison, here is how I ranked the attendees prior to this week. Also, I was able to watch coaching practice tape for every 1 on 1 OL/DL drill and CB/WR drill this week, which allowed me to focus on specific prospects in these important matchups.


The crew over at The Sideline View did a great job posting daily practice notes. Here are the entries from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.


Be sure to check out my top-25 Senior Bowlers exiting the event.

Quarterbacks


1. Derek Carr, Fresno State - Nothing changed this week regarding Carr’s evaluation, as his exposure to interior pressure is still limited. We know he has an arm to hit every level of the field despite throwing plenty of screens in college. Carr doesn’t always throw from a balanced base, but he has improved willingness to take a hit on release. His footwork can be a mess, though, and that will frustrate the fanbase where he lands, similarly to Jay Cutler or Matthew Stafford. Carr has a great arm and he knows it. Take a look at Greg Peshek’s QB Metrics.


2. Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois - Garoppolo entered this event as the No. 2 QB and he leaves as such. Many offenses rely on quick decision makers with a quick release, and Garoppolo can absolutely check these boxes. Things change a bit when pressured, as the quarterback has a tendency to drift laterally rather than step up or work from a phone booth. Garoppolo will end up in the crowded tier of passers after the top four, but do not be surprised if he tops that group. He displays mobility, touch, velocity, placement and a willingness to hit receivers at every level of the field.


3. David Fales, San Jose State - Fales is a cerebral pocket mover, showing very little attention to bodies moving around him. He can be effective in tight spaces before taking a hit and has the footwork to bounce off of his back foot and create operational space if needed. Placement, touch, timing, and anticipation are all above average qualities. Those four skills can compensate for other deficiencies, specifically velocity.


4. Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech - Thomas is not good, but his perceived upside likely places him over the other two passers on this list. Many times, Thomas looks great in terms of stature and pocket movement, and then he throws the football. Progression once reaching the NFL is discussed more than it actually happens, but Thomas will get a shot to be a team’s QB in waiting.


5. Tajh Boyd, Clemson - I really like Boyd’s pocket movement and ability to throw from multiple arm angles. However, his placement is terrible and it has not improved. So many of his passes were touch throws that allowed WRs to win at the catch point. He tended to work to the check down without actually checking to see if it was available.


6. Stephen Morris, Miami - I am not upset, I am just disappointed. Morris regressed this season rather than taking the jump many of us expected. He is undraftable. That might be a surprise coming from someone who was hyping up Morris before the season, but he is solely a vertical passer.



Running Backs


1. Charles Sims, West Virginia - Sims displayed a great combination of receiving ability and pass protection this week. Runners can show very little during the week due to the lack of opportunities to break first contact. Sims could be selected in the third-round.


2. James White, Wisconsin - White is a compact back with a very thick lower half. He was given many of Wisconsin’s third down responsibilities, and that carried over into the week.


3. Lorenzo Taliaferro, Coastal Carolina - This is all about pass protection. The Coastal Carolina product displayed toughness to absorb first contact and mirror on counter moves.



Wide Receivers


1. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt - I was surprised to see Matthews struggle against press coverage some this week. With that said, he did not hurt himself this week. I doubt Matthews is selected in the first-round. He is very technical in terms of balance, footwork, and wasted movement. His after catch ability seems to be underrated as well.


2. Ryan Grant, Tulane - I know the Tulane product spent a great deal of time in the slot, but I project him to the outside. Grant does not shine in any one area. He finds soft areas in coverage and his first step off the line is difficult to slow down. Grant also understands stemming his opposition, forcing them to flip their hips which allows for the receiver to break off his route.


3. Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin - Despite exiting the week early due to a hamstring injury, Abbrederis did nothing to hurt his evaluation. Put on his game against Ohio State, specifically Bradley Roby, and you will see impressive adjustments once the ball is in the air along with great body control.


4. Shaq Evans, UCLA - If only Evans could consistently catch the football. Check out this piece by Matt Waldman where he asked Evans and other receivers about the slight nuances of the position. Evans stood out.



Slot Receivers


1. Robert Herron, Wyoming - Herron is extremely slippery from the slot, and if the defensive back fails to get a hand on the receiver, he will only generate more separation. Herron did have a few drops earlier in the week, but this was not an issue at Wyoming.


2. Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma - Saunders will get knocked by many due to his size (5’9/166). He wins in some very specific areas, however, specifically in space and as a returner. Saunders will struggle with physical coverage, as he might not be able to absorb it and continue on his route, but Saunders is quick enough to keep DBs moving.


3. Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest - I do not judge injuries, so the fact that Campanaro missed multiple games while hurt does not impact my evaluation. He is a very quick player in the short to intermediate areas of the field but also shows off some downfield speed on deep crossers.


4. Kain Colter, Northwestern - Once again, I do not judge injuries, so Colter’s ankle surgery does not impact his week. The former quarterback’s transition to full-time receiver appeared to be smooth. Colter was making hands catches and keeping defenders off balance with stems in his routes.




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Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris



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